Just over a year ago, a unique new shop opened on Minnehaha Avenue. What makes it unique is its singular purpose: Fractal Cactus is a plant store specializing in cacti and succulents, and cacti and succulents only. That’s right – you’ll only find beautiful desert specimens at this charming South Minneapolis boutique. Decorated with local art, Fractal Cactus is a miniature oasis (particularly when compared to the blustery chill of a Minnesota winter). 

Every cactus for sale here is hand-selected by the owner. Scott Adam periodically drives a cargo van to plant nurseries in Tuscon, Arizona to stock up on inventory, ensuring that Fractal Cactus offers a wide variety of the highest quality plants. Some rarer species such as Totem Pole, San Pedro and Blue Myrtillocactus are carried specifically due to customer demand. Many of the soft succulents, on the other hand, are grown in northern Minnesota. 

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“For years, I have been drawn to cacti and other succulents without knowing exactly why,” Scott explained. “Their design was appealing, but it was more a feeling without words. Years later I started learning about fractal design in nature, which shows that supersymmetry is the most successful and favorable design in nature – especially in plants.” Hence the store’s catchy name.

What had begun as a personal cactus collection grew. And grew. This led to the need to sell off some inventory. “I started doing pop-up sales in the neighborhood,” Scott told me. “Larry of The Fix Studio let me do a couple of pop-up sales in his parking lot. I remember pointing across the street at what would be Fractal Cactus’s future home and telling folks that I hoped to move into that storefront. Vision turned into reality!” Scott, living just half a block away from his eventual place of business, was already rooted in the Howe neighborhood. 

When the storefront of his dreams became available, Scott knew it was time to take the plunge with a permanent retail space. Fractal Cactus has survived the pandemic with a combination of sidewalk sales, tent sales, very literal window shopping, and private shopping by appointment.

Luckily for Fractal Cactus, houseplants are in vogue. “Many folks have needed plants to help them cope with all the changes due to the pandemic,” said Scott. “Since a lot of people now work from home and are spending more time there, my customers have told me they wanted to have more plants in their living spaces.”

Another special element of Fractal Cactus is the public repotting station. Filled with sandy soil, the potting station is available to anyone wanting to repot a cactus or create a desert terrarium. It’s a helpful resource for people without space to garden at home. Plus, it comes with the added benefit of Scott’s expertise, who is happy to do the repotting for you.

But what advice does Scott have for first-time cactus owners? “They should NOT be treated like most houseplants with weekly watering! Overwatering is the most common mistake beginners make, along with not providing enough light. Cacti are succulents which all store water in their stems and leaves. They are genetically adept at thriving in arid and drought conditions.” This means that you should ideally water your cactus every two to three weeks. But from October to late March, cacti are in their dormant season and could use as little watering as once every one and half to two months!

Still have questions? The good news is that Scott at Fractal Cactus is happy to help. And with him around, every one of us can have a green thumb.

Fractal Cactus is located at 3750 Minnehaha Ave in Minneapolis. For an appointment email scottadam@fractalcactus.com or call (763) 228-7697.


By Liz Walker